Sujiko vs Ikura: Salmon Roe in Japanese Cuisine

In Japanese cuisine, “Ikura (いくら)” is made out of manure salmon roe or trout roe that’s been pickled typically in soy sauce.

The orange caviar comes in individual-shaped spherical balls and is well-known as a Sushi or Onigiri ingredient.

As you may know, in addition to Ikura, there is one more Japanese food delicacy made of salmon roe or trout roe, which is called “Sujiko (筋子)”.

Sujiko is quite similar to Ikura, but what is the difference between them?

Sujiko vs Ikura: What is the Difference?

Sujiko (筋子)Sujiko Roe

As you can see in the picture above, Sujiko has a dark reddish color compared to Ikura.

Since Sujiko is made of a skein of immature salmon roe or trout roe surrounded by the ovarian membrane, each egg is slightly smaller than Ikura.

While Ikura is usually pickled in soy sauce, Sujiko is often brined, which prevents its shape from easily collapsing.

Ikura (いくら)Ikura Roe

In other words, if the small immature egg isn’t salted, it is fragile compared to Ikura.

As for the use of the Sujiko roe, unlike Ikura, it is rarely used as a Sushi topping mainly because it is within the egg sac.

But as with Ikura, the dark reddish roe is often used in Onigiri rice balls.


Lastly, to make it easier for you to understand the difference between Ikura and Sujiko, here is the comparison table.

Ikura (いくら) Sujiko (筋子)
Material Salmon roe or Trout roe Salmon roe or Trout roe
Maturity Mature Immature
Egg Sac None Within the egg sac
Shape Individual-shaped spherical balls A skein of roe
Cure Typically pickled in soy sauce Often brined

(Reference Pages: マカロニ, 違いはねっと)


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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